(I wrote this nearly ten years ago and it remains true except Taylor Swift? Not so much -IL)
No. Billie Holiday is the greatest pop vocalist of all time. And Ella Fitzgerald is the one I listen to most. But Patsy Cline os definitely the third greatest of all time. Not did she singlehandledly revolutionize country when she sang it with an orchestra but she did it with so much success, so well, she removed the stigma of country and, finally, with the help of Ray Charles introduced it Urban America.
Along with Billie and Ella, she was a dirt poor girl who from the begining of her life and like both of those women, was in it for the money as much as the art and like Ella, she got the ghetto out of her voice and there is no twang on her recordings.There is no twang there at all by the time Owen Bradley finished with her.in 61 between “I Fall To Pieces” before a bad car accident and “Crazy” .
Her voice is powerful, beautiful, full of feeling and a lust for living. A month before her death in a plane crash in 1963, Cline recorded a buncha songs with a full orchestra. She did country but she stood out on the Iriving Berlin “Does Your Heart Still Beat For Me”: a version so beautiful it makes your heart stop: it’s as though Cline was heavy breathing the melody.
Cline mentored Loretta Lynn and Lynn might be a greater country vocalist but Lynn can’t touch in the biggest arena, the pop arena. i don’t there has been a country singer even close to her since. Well, maybe one, maybe Taylor Swift is gonna be the next Patsy Cline. We call that standing with giants.